Booking a flight for a pooch can be a difficult task, and so can the actual time in the air. That’s because planes weren’t designed with pets in mind! But it can be done, if it’s a must. Preparation is key, and here are some quick tips to help you plan your flight.
Always check your airline’s policy about traveling with pets before you book your flight! Some airlines will require you to provide health information or shot records and have certain rules that must be followed. It may be a good idea to get clearance from your dog’s vet before you travel just to be sure he/she can handle the trip, and to become aware of any risks associated with certain breeds of dogs. For instance, brachycephalic or “short-faced” dogs, like pugs, bull dogs, etc., have a harder time breathing in the air and are at risk for complications. Additionally, some breeds are more nervous than others, and may be at risk for hyperventilating. So it’s a good idea to work with a pet professional to come up with the best travel plan in these instances.
Arrive at the airport earlier than usual if you’re flying with your dog, and have him/her already crated to help relieve his, and your, anxiety level when you enter the hustle and bustle. When possible, book direct flights to avoid having to unload and reload your pet. If you only have the option of a flight with a transfer, try to make it so that your dog can wait with you for the next flight, and have a chance to rehydrate.
The most important tip of all is to try to relax. It will help your dog to keep calmer too! Additional tips and resources for pet owners can be found at Pet Travel, which is a repository of mostly free information that helps people travel with their pets. You can get lists of dog-friendly hotels, animal policies for different airlines, and even pet immigration information.
Also, check out our tips for “road trippin’” with your dog here.